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The End of the ‘Developing World’

The End of the ‘Developing World’ | Human Geography Too | Scoop.it
The old labels no longer apply. Rich countries need to learn from poor ones.

 

BILL GATES, in his foundation’s annual letter, declared that “the terms ‘developing countries’ and ‘developed countries’ have outlived their usefulness.” He’s right. If we want to understand the modern global economy, we need a better vocabulary.

Mr. Gates was making a point about improvements in income and gross domestic product; unfortunately, these formal measures generate categories that tend to obscure obvious distinctions. Only when employing a crude “development” binary could anyone lump Mozambique and Mexico together.

It’s tough to pick a satisfying replacement. Talk of first, second and third worlds is passé, and it’s hard to bear the Dickensian awkwardness of “industrialized nations.” Forget, too, the more recent jargon about the “global south” and “global north.” It makes little sense to counterpose poor countries with “the West” when many of the biggest economic success stories in the past few decades have come from the East.

All of these antiquated terms imply that any given country is “developing” toward something, and that there is only one way to get there.

It’s time that we start describing the world as “fat” or “lean.”


Via Seth Dixon
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Joanne Wegener's curator insight, March 7, 2014 5:03 AM

Fat or Lean - what sort of world do we live in

An interesting discussion on the way we perceive and label the world.

Ma. Caridad Benitez's curator insight, March 11, 2014 10:15 AM

Hoy en día poca claridad de dónde exactamente queda y quiénes son? 

Seth Dixon's curator insight, March 13, 2014 10:46 AM

UPDATE: this article (from the Atlantic) on the exact same concept would supplement the NY Times article nicely.  

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Bolivia: A Country With No McDonald’s

Bolivia: A Country With No McDonald’s | Human Geography Too | Scoop.it
What America can learn from one of the most sustainable food nations on Earth.

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Lena Minassian's curator insight, February 13, 11:29 AM

I absolutely love this! Here is a country that takes a lot of pride in eating fresh foods. They do not have any fast food chains because Bolivians prefer their traditional foods just the way they are. They still eat hamburgers but prefer to buy them from women who make them instead of a McDonald's. Bolivians value that interaction and relationship with the people surrounding them and that genuinely makes food more enjoyable. Their food relationships do not involve money but the effects of what these fresh foods can do for them. 

Felix Ramos Jr.'s curator insight, February 28, 5:50 PM

This is a fine example of people looking out for one another.  It might be easier to industrialize their food market but it's more admirable to preserve tradition, help small indigenous business, and try your best at making the country more healthy.  I applaud them for doing this.

Brian Wilk's curator insight, March 22, 3:33 PM

I think I might want to move to Bolivia one day! Reciprocity is often a term used for corporate culture; you but from me and I'll buy from you type of relationship. This is still true in Bolivia only they do it on a much more personal level. Farmers share equipment, they share crops, seeds and develop a rapport not easily undone by corporations such as McDonald's. Bolivia's multiple micro-climates allow it to grow a wide variety of foods for their citizens, thus making it easier to trade within their circle of neighborhood farmers. "I'll trade you ten pounds of potatoes for five pounds of Quinoa."

The article goes on to state that Bolivians do indeed love their hamburgers, a handful of Subway's and Burger King's still do business there, but the heritage of picking a burger from a street vendor has been passed down by generations. These cholitas, as they are called, sell their fare in the streets of Bolivia and this type of transaction is not easily duplicated by large corporations. I have added Bolivia to my bucket list...

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Fresh Water Resources

View full lesson: http://ed.ted.com/lessons/where-we-get-our-fresh-water-christiana-z-peppard Fresh water accounts for only 2.5% of Earth's...

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Seth Dixon's curator insight, February 12, 2013 2:45 PM

How much of the Earth's water is fresh water?  How much of that is used for industrial, agricultural or domestic uses?  Why is groundwater becoming increasingly utilized?  Enjoy this TED-ED video for the answers. 


Tags: water, environment, consumption, resources, environment depend.

Agron S. Dida's comment, December 17, 2013 5:33 AM
Ben, there is a good link about the lack of water: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131216154330.htm#.UrAC_n3F2FA.twitter
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Follow the Things

"Who makes the things that we buy?  Few of us know. They seem untouched by human hands. Occasionally there's a news story, a documentary film, or an artwork showing the hidden ingredients in our coffee, t-shirts, or iPads. They often 'expose' unpleasant working conditions to encourage more 'ethical' consumer or corporate behaviour. followthethings.com is this work's 'online store'. Here you can find out who has followed what, why and how; the techniques used to 'grab' its audiences; the discussions and impacts that this has provoked; and how to follow things yourself."
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Fran Martin's curator insight, September 10, 2013 3:37 AM

Great website by colleague Ian Cook at Exeter University

Ann-Laure Liéval's curator insight, September 10, 2013 3:56 AM

About Globalisation, flows and production today. 

Mr Ortloff's curator insight, October 8, 2013 12:32 PM

Where did your T-Shirt come from?   Where did the food your parents bought at the grocery store come from?  What's the origin of the components in your cell phone?  These questions all allude to what geographers call a commodity chain analysis.  Analyzing where the consumer goods that we use every day came from can make global issues hit a little closer to home and reinforce concepts such as globalization. The website Follow the Things is a great resource for learning  about commodity chains and mapping out your own personal geographies.

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Breakfasts Around the World


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Shelby Porter's curator insight, November 4, 2013 11:03 AM

These pictures are very interesting and makes you think about the kinds of breakfast you saw when growing up. These pictures allow us to see the kinds of food cultivated in these areas of the world and how they interprete the use of each one. The pictures also show us how each place is related. For example, some of the dishes looked alike in that most of the plate was breads. It makes you wonder where that tradition came from. These pictures also let the viewer in on the development or wealth of the country. Some countries only have a piece of bread and a coffee for breakfast, where other places have huge platefuls of all different kinds of food. Does the amount of food you eat for breakfast have to do with how developed your country is? Food seems so simple, but it can lead to many different interpretations for people. 

Courtney Burns's curator insight, November 21, 2013 9:17 AM

Typically when I think about different cultural foods I think about lunch or dinner rather than breakfast. When I think about Italy I think about meatballs, pasta, pizza, and gelato. When I think about Germany I think about a lot of meats. However what never really comes to mind is breakfast. Breakfast is one of my absolute favorite meals on the day. I love going out to breakfast and getting some eggs, homefries, sausage, and maybe even a grilled blueberry muffin. This summer I traveled to Italy and that was the first time I realized that breakfast is just as different in their Culture as their lunch and dinner. It was interesting how different things were. They had toast and yogurt, but the yogurt didn't taste the same as it does in America.  It is amazing how different each countries breakfast is in comparison to what we are used to. Some things we consider lunch might be served in another countries breakfast meal. For example Deli meats. It is interesting to see how different each culture really is. 

Victoria McNamara's curator insight, December 12, 2013 12:10 AM

Countries each have their own foods that are unique and freshly made by families everyday. They use foods that are frequently grown and found in the area to make their meals. For example china eats a lot of fish because it is part of their culture. Also people of spanish and mexican cultures are known for cooking spicy delcious foods. Food is apart of what creates cultures.

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What Would Happen If The Entire World Lived Like Americans?

What Would Happen If The Entire World Lived Like Americans? | Human Geography Too | Scoop.it

After making an infographic depicting how much space would be needed to house the entire world’s population based on the densities of various global cities, Tim De Chant of Per Square Mile got to thinking about the land resources it takes to support those same cities.


Tags: consumption, development, resources, energy, density, sustainability.


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Michelle Carvajal's comment, September 18, 2012 6:23 PM
Its very interesting that the United Arab Emirates would need more land mass than lets say China and the US. I guess what I'm trying to say is that the common misconception of people is that China has the greatest population. I definetely will rescoop this because people could actually see how hard it must be to house people who in essence would need all this land mass to live comfortably.
Thomas D's comment, April 22, 2013 4:13 PM
I thought that this was a very interesting graph and article to read. It shows that if the rest of the world lived like us Americans we would need four times the world’s surface, which is pretty substantial to think about. Although the United Arab Emirates is the leading this graph it’s hard to believe that America is in second. This goes to show that our way of living is out of hand, that the only reason we haven’t consumed everything is because the rest of the world is living of more reasonable amounts of resources or no resources at all. That we need to be as a country more conservative of our resources before we have to rely even more heavily than we already do on other countries. I was surprised to see that India has such a small percentage of resource consummation considering it is such a highly populated country.
Brianna Simao's comment, April 30, 2013 10:23 PM
Countries with a more advanced and urbanized way of life clearly would need more space to survive but if everyone lived like these more developed countries then natural selection dies and survival of the fittest takes over. Eventually all the natural resources would be used up. If they all continued to use the same amount and reproduce then the fertility rate would rapidly increase making the area overpopulated and the quality of life decreased. It is a good thing the entire world lives differently and has a diverse ecological footprint because it creates a balance in the world. As one country’s consumption is out of control another is holding down the fort because they lice more reasonably. It is interesting to see that even though China and India have the largest populations they don’t consume as many resources as the United States and the United Arab Emirates.